Story is everything. They are a part of being human. Since humans walked the earth, we have told stories from cave drawings to the written word to moving pictures. We are compelled to create our own stories based on our own life experiences or our imagination.

Every campaign, film, episodic show, or video game begins with some sort of written story or narrative. Novels, scripts, books, comics, and game design documents originate from writers, marketing, designers, clients, directors or marketing is how every project starts.

Story development is hard, and you have to start somewhere.

Here is a basic guide for developing a simple story plot and framework to build on. The more details you provide, the more lore you are building to enhance the quality of the story.

To plan and design your idea, having a short story or plot will enhance your imagery by adding lore, imagination, and visual depth—but how do you start?

Coming up with a basic plot doesn’t have to be difficult. There can be five key elements to build a story.

*Artwork by: Erika Hollice

The Setting

This is an important start to any story. Where is your story happening?

What is the Genre?

What location is your story happening?

What time period is it happening in?

What is the time of day?

There are so many different types of story genres, especially when there are mash-ups and cross-overs between them. Which is your favorite? Create a small Setting.

Protagonist or Antagonist

You can’t have a story without characters for the audience to have an emotional relationship with.

Who are your characters?

How do they identify?

What is their moral compass?

Object of Desire

Every story has motivation for the characters, and something caused it. This is the “why.”

What are they after?

What are they seeking?

Conflict and Obstacles

Stories need conflict and challenges for the characters. This can be emotional or physical, or both. This can also be a loop during this journey for how they progress, as there are multiple challenges.

What is in their way?

What sets them back?

What stops them in their tracks?

Resolution

There is always an end to a chapter, episode, or story.

What climactic event happens?

How do your characters prevail?

As you can see a simple framework like this can be used to develop a story further. To build more depth just requires more focus on events that happen in between all of these elements. Give it a try! Read it to a friend. Do they want to hear more? That is a great gauge of success.

We would love to hear your story ideas based on this guide. Thank you!